Posted by: gary1799 | April 30, 2014

What should fiction writers blog about?

what should fiction writers blog aboutTo be a successful fiction author, you must be able to promote your books. To be a successful book promoter you must have a platform on which to promote. To have a successful platform, you must find a large group of people who have the opinion that your platform is interesting, entertaining and valuable to them.

When I surf the internet visiting blogs of fiction authors from around the country, what I find most often is that they blog about themselves. Everyone knows that constantly talking about yourself in a social setting is a really bad habit and that people are turned off by someone who does that. So why do authors often blog only about themselves? The answer is because they don’t know what else to blog about.

What should fiction writers blog about? If you want to promote your book you should be blogging about your book, right? Wrong. For fiction authors, the purpose of a blog is not like a soapbox from which to stand and yell, “Hey everyone, buy my book!” For a fiction author, the purpose of a blog is to attract people who admire or respect you enough that when you do publish a book, you don’t even have to ask, they already want to buy it because of their admiration or respect for you. (Don’t misunderstand, when the time comes you will ask them to buy. But the point is that they will willingly do so because of their admiration for you, not because you’ve convinced or persuaded them with some kind of sales pitch on your blog.)

The question is, what should fiction writers blog about? The answer is found in three questions. Who is your audience, what are they interested in and where do their interests and your genre intersect?

Here’s an overly simplified example. If you write novels about World War II, who would your audience be? People interested in World War II. Where do their interests and your fiction intersect? Again, the answer is World War II. Therefore you should blog about World War II.

Now for a not-so-simple example, if you write sci-fi novels, who would your audience be? People who enjoy reading sci-fi of course. But, who are they and what are they interested in? What would they enjoy reading about on a blog? This is where you really have to give some careful thought and consideration. Who is your audience, what are they interested in and where does that interest and your fiction genre intersect?

Here’s an example from my own life. I want to write nautical adventure fiction. I have half a dozen story ideas that could each be written into a novel. I recently asked myself, Who is my audience? People interested in nautical adventure of course. Where do their interests and my fiction intersect? The sea. Therefore, I created a blog called The High Seas Journal. I set up some Google alerts to email me anytime something new is published to the internet containing the word ship or shipwreck. I review the alerts looking for something that in some way fits into the idea of being a sea adventure; something that would be interesting to the nautical adventure fan. When I find such a story I write about it. I’ve recently written about the discovery this month of real pirate ships found on the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, a huge container ship that had to make an emergency call for help off the coast of Scotland after losing its steering in a storm, and futuristic cargo ships that can sail across the ocean without anyone onboard. I can also write about my hobby of model ship building or I can write a review of a nautical adventure novel I’ve recently read. I can also simply share Youtube videos such as the tall ship that collided with a pier or the giant cruise ship that snapped its mooring lines during strong winds. I might even occasionally consider digging in a little and doing some research, perhaps writing an article on life at sea or about the early days of sail. Any topic that a fan of nautical adventure would find interesting, that’s what I want to blog about.

The trick, however, is that you must also sprinkle yourself and your personality into the whole process. For example, Steve Irwin didn’t become an internationally recognized figure merely by making a TV show about crocodiles. It was the fact that he spoke with a thick Australian accent, had numerous funny catch phrases and physically jumped on the huge reptiles when capturing them. He sprinkled his own personality into the show and thus it was he who became famous, not the crocodiles.

Pat Flynn from the Smart Passive Income blog didn’t become so well recognized merely by offering advice on his blog about online business. He became famous because he offers the advice in the context of his own personal experience. His audience finds him to be a very relatable and trustworthy person not to mention an authority on his subject. When he publishes a book, his fans are eager to purchase it.

Your goal is to build a large audience who visits your blog regularly. These are people who come to your blog because it’s interesting or entertaining or helpful to them. Once you finish your novel, you will already have in place, an audience of people interested in reading what you’ve written. At that point you can make your book available for purchase on Amazon and then place a picture and text link prominently featured on the side bar of your blog, where the thousands of people who have a particular interest in what you blog about, will see it.

When trying to figure out what you should blog about, think first about your audience. Figure out what they are interested in. then figure out how their interests and your fiction genre intersect. That’s what you should blog about. Also don’t forget to sprinkle your own personality into your blogging.

Photo credit: flickr Creativ Commons, blog OMG! by Mike Licht

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Responses

  1. Hi Judy, To answer your question you have to know who your audience is. Who buys your book? Figure that out and then find out what their interests are. I know, easier said than done. But if you have no clue who is buying your book, that’s bad. Start by looking at your feedback on Amazon. For example on of your 5 star reviewers read a book on Philosophy two months ago and she’s also a cat owner. The point is, there are ways to find out who reads your book and what they’re interests are. Of course, what I wrote in this post is just one option. Another option is to blog about whatever your passionate about and then on your about page write, “oh by the way, I’m also an author of literary fiction.”

  2. Thanks for opening up a needed discussion. I get what you’re saying, and I do that with my non-fiction books (which are about raw vegan cuisine). But my novel Artist Girl’s Cambridge Daze is a literary type. Unless I blog about similar writers, I’m clueless about what to blog about to reach a wide audience who might like my book. (I’m not the type to spend all my time reading and writing about the novels of Virginia Woolf, for example, and other similar writers. I just don’t have that time.) 😦

  3. Great article Gary! Thanks for sharing.


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